I graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1992. My main
thing, pretty much only thing, back then was band. I was one of
the rare ones who endured four years of marching and concert band
under a tyrant band director. I stuck with it because I loved
the music. I loved the saxophone and is sweet, silky notes.
Can we tell this story without my disabilities? No, I didn't
think so. Some of you are thinking, "How can a deaf, blind and
handicapped person be in the band?"
I'm obligated to explain, as if i'm asking for your permission. I
started playing saxophone in 5th grade, just like most student
do. I had no disabilities then. In high school I was hard of
hearing with low vision. I had no peripheral vision but decent
central vision. No one ever told me I should stop playing, and
the idea never occurred to me.
I would still be playing now, if only I could find braille music.
There's a company named Dancing Dot that offers software that
turns print and audio music to braille, but I can't afford it.
End of story.
My son is a junior at Roosevelt and plays saxophone in the band.
Actually, it's the same alto sax I played. I think he's more
talented than me, but he doesn't practice as much. I feel
something when he plays at home. It's this deep yearning need. I
want the music so bad it hurts.
This coming Friday is the Homecoming football game. They now have
alumni band members play with current students during the
pre-game show. I want to do it. My disabilities won't permit
that, but the urge will not diminish.
Let's pretend I'm not disabled. I'd rent a sax from Woodsy's,
memorize the music and join the band on Friday. I'd feel the
thrill of the music and power of being involved. In the stands,
people would laugh at the middle-age wanna-be reliving her past.
My son would roll his eyes at me. The show would end, and all of
it would be forgotten. No one would bother to think about that
plain, ordinary woman with the saxophone.
Sadly, that would never happen because I do have disabilities. My
attitude these days is tempered by the limitations but the drive
is not dead. I know I can't play with the band or march on the
field. The wanting inside me says there's got to be a way, there
must be something I can do. I don't care what, I just want to be
Joseph and I were talking about this yesterday. He said, "If you
really want to, I'm sure they can figure out something you can
do, and then everyone would think how amazing you are and cheer
for a super long time."
He killed the drive. He took a knife and slashed it into bleeding
pieces of broken dreams. Joseph wasn't being cruel. He was being
honest, and he was right. What he said was 100% true, exactly
what would happen if I stepped, or rolled, out on the field.
Joseph knew the bitter reality because we've been through it
This is how inspirational porn hurts me. I can't just be an old
fuddy who wants to have some Homecoming fun. I have to be the
disabled person, Joseph's inspiring mom who won't let anything
stop her. And that's what's going to stop me. I won't be anyone's
feel-good moment or a Facebook story, "You won't believe what I
saw at the game on Friday. I don't want to be remembered because
I'm deaf or blind or handicapped.
I'm a very determined person. I like to think that nothing can
stop me. I'll do it even if I have to do it in a different way.
Not on Friday. I'll be sitting in the stands in the special
accessible area, with you other disabled people. I'll sit
quietly, avoiding attention, thanks to inspirational porn. That's
how society hurt me. Can you try to understand?
Angie C. Orlando
Permission is granted to share.
contact me at Angie.C.Orlando@gmail.com